New Zealand Union leader Mike Treen has been attacked and unlawfully detained by the Israeli military this morning and his union,Unite, is calling on our government to demand Israeli authorities release him and the other international campaigners that were aboard the Al Awda this morning when it was raided.
His final radio message just before the Israeli attack can be heard here:
“Mike was taking part in a peaceful mission to deliver aid to Gaza and was in international waters when attacked and detained. We understand he has been taken, kidnapped in reality, to the southern Israeli port of Ashod.” said National Secretary Gerard Hehir.
“We expect the New Zealand government to strongly protest and demand his immediate release, along with his fellow campaigners and the Al Awda so they can deliver the much needed medical aid to the port of Gaza”.
“Their mission to Gaza posed absolutely no threat to Israel or to Israeli citizens. It is a fishing boat loaded with medicines. This is not about security, it is about Israel treating Gaza as the worlds biggest prison, killing, maiming and kidnapping anyone who even approaches the walls, wires and blockades they have built around Gaza - territory the rest of the world has clearly said is illegally occupied by Israel.”
Mr Hehir said that Mike Treen was very aware that this was a likely outcome of the mission. He knew he was likely to be attacked and illegally imprisoned and was prepared for that - but it doesn’t make what the Israeli government has done any more legal or acceptable.
“Mike is also very aware that what was done to him over the last 24 hours is the daily reality for the nearly 2 million citizens of Gaza, imprisoned as a people” said Mr Hehir.
“Unite is very proud of Mike. He is doing right now what he has done his entire life - standing up to those in power and calling them out publicly for their treatment of their fellow human beings. He doesn’t care if they are bosses with bags of money or governments with warships and bombs
Unite expects Mike Treen to be deported back to New Zealand in the next week, although in 2010 the Freedom Flotilla was viciously attacked by Israeli commandos and ten activists were murdered, with “circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution” according to a UN report.